The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. [It's] to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives.

Kelly Pollock


Music is a combination of sounds, silence, rhythm, pitch, tone, melody and harmony that communicate emotions and ideas. It has great power to excite and to relax us, to bring back memories and to make us feel nostalgic.

Research shows that studying music can help students develop critical thinking, spatial reasoning and cognitive skills. It also helps develop communication skills and encourages creativity and expressiveness. Students who play music as part of a group develop team-working skills, self-discipline, self-esteem and the ability to listen to others.

Music in St. Patrick's Grammar School


Mrs Celeste McEvoy - Head of Music

Miss Ciara Coleman - Teacher of Music

Miss Courtney Burns - Strings

Mr Matthew Campbell - Voice

Mr Martin Galbraith - Drum kit

Mr Brian McClean - Traditional/Wind/Piano/Theory

Mr Gavan Quigley - Guitar/Bass Guitar

Mrs Louise Sweet - Brass

Miss Bridin Wells - Piano/Wind/Theory

Music is taught by both Music teachers at KS3 and A level. Practical provision is aided by the peripatetic staff. The department is housed in 2 music rooms, well served by a state-of-the-art recording studio, several practise rooms and a music computer suite. To support the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom throughout the academic year, Music students have opportunities to go on educational trips and listen to talks from various organisations. Students also have opportunities to take part in competitions and festivals or various composition competitions throughout the year. Instrumental lessons, usually one period in duration, take place during the school day on a rota system and timetables are situated on the noticeboards in the main Music corridor, or on individual tutor's doors.

Various extra-curricular music activities take place throughout the year including the Junior and Senior Choir, Band, Stomp Group, Junior and Senior Traditional Groups, Junior and Senior Guitar Groups, Male Barbershop and Mixed Barbershop, and various pupil-led rock groups and ensembles. Showcase events include performances in the annual school concert, musical productions, assisting the drama festival/productions, trips and visits to shows in Belfast and beyond, and several performances in the local community.

Teaching and Learning Aims

In our department we try and encourage pupils to have a passion for not only Music, but all of the Arts-based subjects. We do this by having a range of theory lessons, as well as practical lessons, using the school 's classroom instruments as well as honing in on pupil expertise on their instruments of choice, should they be taking tuition on an instrument. We use Music Technology and music software packages to enable extension work with composition activities - currently using the packages Sibelius, Garageband and Logic. We work closely with the Drama, Art and Technology departments during whole-school productions, such as Holes, Oliver and Phantom of the Opera, as well as our annual school concerts.

Music students have opportunities to attend educational trips and listen to talks from various organisations. Recent talks have included a series of 'life on the road' talks from gigging musicians, including past-pupil Conor McCreanor (bass player with Foy Vance) and Lee McMahon (sound engineer for bands such as Muse,) as well as gaining an insight into university courses with a workshop and Q & A session with course director at the University of Ulster at Magee Campus, and jazz trumpeter, Dr. Linley Hamilton.

Through the study of Music, we aim to:

  • stimulate an interest in and enjoyment of Music;
  • encourage and enable students to reach their full potential through support and challenge;
  • enable students to become confident citizens by developing skills, knowledge and understanding, enabling them to formulate and communicate their own opinions about developments in Music and Music Technology and possible future careers in the industry;
  • develop students' knowledge and understanding of health and safety issues;
  • encourage students to become independent learners as well as cooperate in group activities;
  • develop skills in ICT, communication and investigative work, as well as problem solving, organisational, research and analytical skills;
  • ensure all students reach their potential and have opportunities to showcase their talent.

Careers in Music

Music is a subject leading to a wide variety of careers in a whole range of professions, such as;

  • Professional Musician / Rock star
  • Session Musician
  • Music Therapy
  • Music Producer / Record Producer
  • D.J. / Radio D.J.
  • Singer / Songwriter
  • Recording Engineer
  • Music Production
  • Composer
  • Music Director
  • Conductor
  • Music Journalist
  • Film Music
  • Church musician
  • Teaching and Research
  • Music industry merchandising
  • Instrument design / repair and development


Music Department Calendar

Stay up to date with our Music calendar. Here you'll find exam dates, revision classes and events specific to the Music Department.

- Traditional Group Performance in the St. Patrick's Centre, Downpatrick on 17th March 2019, time t.b.c.

- 85TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT, 5TH APRIL 2019, 7pm, featuring performances from past and current pupils.

Photo Gallery

A snapshot of some of the musical events taking place throughout the year.

2018 A2 Music Cup Winner

Donal Carney for excellence in A2 Music

2017 A2 Music Cup Winner

Frasier Hickland

First Place for CCEA Music, gaining 100% in his A2 modules.

Music in the Community

Senior Traditional Group Members 2018/19 perform for Downpatrick Culture Night

Soloist Dylan Scullion performs with Choir members during the annual showcase concert, March 2018

Annual Showcase Concert

Annual Showcase Concert featuring the Senior Traditional Group and Irish dancer, Conor Macklin

Eoin Moore performing for the Annual Showcase Event

Shared Education Choir Event with SPGS and Down High

Shared Education Choir Event Rehearsals

Dylan Scullion sings for a fundraising concert in the St. Patrick's Chapel, hosted by acclaimed singer, Peter Corry

Daniel Halleron

Music and Technology at its finest. Daniel built his own guitar with an apprenticeship with Avalon Luthiers

Past-pupil Conor Smyth-Small returns to chat to students about university life and to demonstrate how he gained a First in his Music degree (and the importance of practise!)

Year 8, Build Your Own Instrument Competition Winner

Conor McGoldrick and the 'Hurley Guitar'